​Alabama Rot: What you need to know to keep your dog safe

While facts are still scarce on the exact nature of Alabama rot, its presence in the UK has caused many a worried rumour to surface over the past few months, prompting a fair number of concerned calls to the team here at Swell Pets.

While the situation with Alabama Rot seems to be still developing, here’s what we all should know and suspect so far:

The Facts

More scientifically known as CRGV, Alabama Rot seems to have first surfaced in the 1980’s and is widely believe have its origins in the USA, lending it the common name of Alabama Rot. Originally thought to simply effect Grey Hounds, it has now been shown to have spread, and over in the UK too.

The symptoms of an infected dog are often the same and are easily noticed in the form of skin lesions at first, with kidney failure likely and the most common cause of death with Alabama rot an unpleasant fact for all that have a place for dogs in their heart.

What to look for

The skin lesions are most likely to present themselves below the knee but have been reported to display on the dog’s face, belly and abdomen on occasion. They look like a swelling or ulcer, often red and sore looking.

Generally speaking, the infected dogs tend to develop signs of kidney failure within a week to 10 days. Kidney failure can be hard to spot but can include vomiting, problems urinating, lethargy and going off their food, all of which should be cause to take your dog to the vets regardless of whether you suspect Alabama Rot is at play or not.

Diagnosis, treatment and prognosis for Alabama Rot

As with all diseases, early detection is incredibly important. CRGV (Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular vasculopathy) is quite an aggressive disease, requiring aggressive treatment for the kidney failure, however one way or another, a terminal diagnosis is likely unless the dog can fight off the infection by themselves.

Source unknown

Sadly, this is where the facts about Alabama rot run out! We still don’t know it’s route cause or nature which means prevention is extremely difficult. Theories regularly circulate regarding boggy ground, damp wood and country walk, but so far no coherent theory has been established to explain it’s reoccurrence.

The latest scientific findings lean towards toxins released by E. Coli, however securing a confirmed theory is still a little way off, as well as finding the connection to dogs in different continents, however, we all hope for an explanation so a vaccine can be developed.

Until then, regularly check your dog over for at least a week following walks in the countryside, and otherwise try not to worry. We know you love your dogs as much as we love our own, and to deny them a good walk based on unfounded suspicions would be upsetting for everyone!


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